Sisyphus Shrugged (2013)

“I look forward to reading it and sharing it with my staff and colleagues in Congress.”
—Nancy Pelosi

It’s extraordinarily cathartic to read.
Sandra Fulbright-Myers


SS__2021__FRONTThe second strike is on.

John Galt’s strike of the “men of the mind” brought down Roger Thompson’s dictatorship and ushered in a conservative dream: no taxes, regulations, or social programs. The end of government services such as policing, firefighting, and infrastructure-building has created a vacuum filled by ruthless for-profit businesses, but very few can afford them. With no safety or labor standards, most Americans have abandoned their homes to work several jobs in the cities. After eight years of living in a dog-eat-dog wasteland, America has elected liberal Senator Laurence Sterling (D-VT) president.

Mere days before Sterling’s inauguration, twenty-six-year-old World Times reporter Evelyn Riley hears that both absenteeism and productivity have risen in recent months at General Motors, one of the remaining two automobile companies in Detroit. Her mother’s death decades before reminds her daily of the importance of family and human connections. Little does Evelyn know that John Galt is planning his return to fight Sterling, or that this time a new generation of labor leaders is preparing a strike of its own.

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IMG_8668Alisa “Ayn Rand” Rosenbaum wrote Atlas Shrugged to depict businesspersons as the Atlases holding up the Cosmos of society despite evil government and labor unions.  She did this in response to the abuses of her native Russia’s Soviet government, to warn us all what a Soviet system would look like in America.  As she did so, she incorporated her philosophical responses to such abuses.  Fair game.

The problem is that Rand was so traumatized by Soviet dictatorship she saw it everyplace she looked.  The Soviets claimed to champion the oppressed but did not.  When American liberals championed the oppressed, Rand saw them as untrustworthy oppressors equivalent to Russian Soviets.  Absurd, yes, but too many have taken this paranoid, cynical vision far too seriously for far too long.  To this day, Rand’s admirers and kindred spirits equate the two, arguing that liberals are communists and socialists, even that Soviet-style dictatorship has come to America!  While my Russian and Eastern European friends laugh when I tell them this, the ignorance and intellectual dishonesty of “Randians” promoting these ideas to this day are both astounding and dangerous.

My mission was to write a sequel/rebuttal, to fight this false equivalence, that was both persuasive and entertaining.  What I came up with was Sisyphus Shrugged.

“It should be required reading if they’ve read Atlas Shrugged and haven’t evolved past her fuckery.”
—Denise Johnson

“If you have ever read Atlas Shrugged, whether you liked it or not, you really should read this book.”
—David Scott Moyer

“The writing shines in the skillful dialogue between people of opposing political views, more reasoned discussions than you’re ever likely to find on social media.  If Sisyphus Shrugged is an ‘argument in the form of a story’, it is also reminiscent of a Socratic dialogue.  When Riley gets to confront John Galt and Dagny Taggart about the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the beliefs they’re espousing, I was almost shouting “Yes!” at the pages as if I was watching a sporting event.”
Sandra Fulbright-Myers


On display at the West Linn Public Library, West Linn, Oregon.